'Obsessed' may lead box office this weekend
Earth Day was green in more ways than one for Disneynature’s “Earth,” which nabbed the best opening-day gross ever for a documentary (excluding concert films) in sowing $4 million at 1,804 theaters.Many documentaries — including “Fahrenheit 9/11” and “March of the Penguins” — begin as limited releases and so can’t be compared with “Earth.” This weekend is a case in point as Sony Pictures Classics opens James Toback’s “Tyson” in 11 theaters in New York and L.A. “Earth” shares the marquee this weekend with three other new wide releases at the domestic B.O. — Sony’s stalker thriller “Obsessed,” Paramount’s “The Soloist” and Universal’s “Fighting.” It’s the final sesh before summer kicks off at the box office May 1 with the release of 20th Century Fox’s “X-Men Origins: Wolverine.” “Obsessed,” from Screen Gems, is the frontrunner heading into the weekend, according to tracking. Sony opens the pic, which stars Beyonce Knowles, Idris Elba and Ali Larter, in 2,541 runs. After that, the forecast gets murky. “The Soloist,” starring Robert Downey Jr. and Jaime Foxx, could find itself in a three-way race for No. 2 alongside holdover “17 Again” and “Earth.” Produced by DreamWorks, “Soloist” was originally set to open in late 2008. Par takes the drama out in 2,024 locations. “Fighting,” starring Channing Tatum, is trailing in the tracking. Film is from Rogue Pictures, which is now owned by Relativity Media. U markets and distributes all Rogue titles on behalf of Relativity. The three new features will be going after different auds. “Obsessed” should get females, plus their boyfriends or husbands. “Soloist” will be driven by adults, while “Fighting” will go for male eyeballs. “Earth” is the first release from Disneynature, the label formed a year ago to get the Mouse House back into the game of producing nature films. The division, headed by Jean-Francois Camilleri and based in France, hopes to build off the boffo success of “March of the Penguins,” which grossed $77.4 million domestically for Warner Independent Pictures and National Geographic Films. “Earth” was directed by Alastair Fothergill. “Original Kings of Comedy,” the previous record-holder for best opening day for a docu at $3.9 million, grossed $11 million during its opening weekend in 2000. The highest-grossing docu of all time at the domestic B.O. is “Fahrenheit 9/11” with $119.1 million. On the foreign front, Hollywood studios are keeping launches at a minimum, with “X-Men Origins: Wolverine” going day-and-date next weekend. “Fast and Furious” looks likely to score its third straight weekend win with $153 million banked overseas as of Wednesday. “Monsters vs. Aliens” should remain a strong contender for family coin with $130.7 million in international cume. Warner Bros. will likely see strong biz for Coco Chanel biopic “Coco avant Chanel,” starring Audrey Tautou. The film launched Wednesday in France at 424 playdates, with a staggered release planned for other key markets in coming months. “Gran Torino,” which has cumed $95 million outside the U.S., goes into Japan — its final major territory. U’s taking “State of Play” into the U.K. in what will be a key test for the film. Dave McNary contributed to this report.